|Today's post was inspired by this picture|
I've always wondered why it was decided that a rabbit would be the symbol of Easter. Easter is traditionally a christian holiday, commemorating Jesus being crucified on Friday and rising from the dead on Sunday, three days after his burial. Now, I'm not going to debate whether that is a true story or whether Jesus was indeed man's saviour, but there was a man named Jesus who was hanged on a cross by the Romans, that much is basically agreed upon by most scholars on the subject matter. My dad told me he was a crazy person that went around smashing other people's temples and pissed off a lot of priests and that lead to his prosecution and his death. Other people say he was a gentle man who taught love and forgiveness as a way of life, which also pissed off a lot of people, especially the king of Rome who was not impressed with Jesus' telling people there was only one true god. Still others say he was God incarnate himself and lived as a man and died as a man to save us from our sins. You guessed it, that pissed off a lot of people too, who was he to say he was a god, not a just a god, did you hear, he says he's THE God! Pretty nervy of 'im, ain't it? Let's get 'im! That's about the time the pitchforks and torches appear in the mob. Whatever the case, he ended up on a cross with a bloody crown of thorns and died a horrible death, that much can be attested to by people who know a lot more about this stuff than me.
Well, who am I to say what is the truth? What I want to know, what does the bloody, painful, horrifying death of a Jewish man have to do with rabbits? Well. I'm sure you've heard about Christmas being a pagan holiday to celebrate the winter solstice? Yay! The days are getting longer! Let's set fire to some of those pine trees over there and eat a lot of food, we don't need it anymore, spring is coming! Yay! But then the christians came along and they really liked Jesus and his teachings and they wanted other people to listen to them and adopt them. I mean, after all, he taught love and forgiveness, why not spread that shit around? They already knew about the Winter Solstice celebrations because they themselves had been pagans not that long ago. Idea! Why don't we gently, ever so gently, push this idea that this really cool guy was born about this time and we can make the celebration be about the longer days AND him. Win/win. It worked! And now we have this lovely holiday that we tell ourselves is about Jesus's birth and being with our families, but we all know it's really about who got the most cards and the newest iPad. Oops. Cycnic is coming out in me, I better eat another cream egg.
So. Where is the Easter bunny in all this? Rabbits, or hares, have been a symbol of spring time since long before Jesus walked this earth and the Anglo-Saxon Goddess of Spring, Eostre (sounds suspiciously like Easter, doesn't it?), had a hare as a companion. Rabbits are also the symbol of fertility (I mean, come on, you didn't think that saying just sprang out of nowhere, did you?). Well, the christians are still trying to get this idea of Jesus to take hold and they've already seen how celebrating his birth with the Winter Solstice is kind of working, that people don't really like change, but hey, new traditions are kind of fun! And this Jesus guy, he died around Passover and they say he rose from the dead. So why not celebrate this in the spring time because death and birth and fertility and the cycle of life get kind of all mashed together with spring and the people love it. Boom! Easter is born.
Why this now involves chocolate, I have no idea, but I've just finished my second cream egg because what is a religious holiday without gluttonous over-consumption?